Guide

How to Fix the Leaking Faucet

Do you have issues with a leaking faucet? This predicament is a common occurrence for many homeowners. We can all agree that not many problems are more annoying than having a faucet that drips. Not only you’ll be wasting water, but the sound is remarkably irritating! If you don’t want to call a maintenance specialist every time this happens, here’s a short guide on how to fix the leaking faucet. 

Repairing a leaky faucet isn’t hard, and it can be rather inexpensive. There are only a few tips and tricks you need to learn, and you’ll know how to fix the leaking faucet by yourself! 

Why Is Your Faucet Leaking?

The cause of your leaking faucet usually depends on the faucet type. A faucet can be cartridge, ceramic disk, ball type, and compression. The compression type is the most different. Usually, the leak is caused by worn out rubber washers that compression faucets rely on to seal the valve seat. On the other hand, with the other taps, the leak is usually caused by malfunctioned neoprene seal or O-ring. Both leaks can be repaired when the faulty part is replaced. 

How to Fix the Leaking Faucet

No matter what type of faucet you have, the preparation process is the same. It would be best if you always shut down the water valve to prevent any water from reaching the faucet. Dropped parts can fall into the drain, so make sure you’ve covered it with a rag or something similar. Also, create a space where you’ll place the removed parts, as they’ll likely be dirty. Use duct tape to tape the edges of your wrench, as the fixture is sensitive and you can scratch it easily. Ensure you have some distilled vinegar and a brush or a scouring pad. This will help you with the mineral deposits that will most likely be found on the faucet parts. 

How to Fix a Compression Faucet

Typically, a leaky compression faucet will need replacement seat washers. It would help if you pried off the handle’s decorative cap using a small slotted screwdriver. This will expose the attachment screws, which you can remove using a regular screwdriver. Now you can pull the handle off. Next, you should unscrew the packing nut with a crescent wrench. You’ll need an adjustable wrench as well, so you can loosen the stem. Once you’ve taken the stem out, replace the O-ring as it is the usual culprit behind the dripping handles. New O-rings should match the dimensions of your faucet. Put some plumber’s grease on the new O-ring.

With a screwdriver, remove the rubber washer that is typically found at the stem’s bottom end. Before you replace it, coat the new washer with plumber’s grease.

Sometimes, the retainer ring can be damaged as well. If this is the case, replace it. If your faucet is still leaking, maybe the problem is in the pitted seal. Take off the stem and use an emery cloth to sand the upper part of the seal. Everything should be smooth. If you can’t do this, replace the seal.

How to Fix a Cartridge Faucet

First off, you should remove the decorative cap from the handle. Remove the handle screw, then tilt the handle to the back. After this, you can pull it off and inspect it. Sometimes, you can notice a threaded retaining clip that is holding the cartridge in place. Take the needle-nose pliers to remove it, and after that, you’ll be able to pull the round up. Make sure you’re pulling it straight up, not to damage it.

Then, you can remove the spout and remove the old, broken O-rings with a utility knife. Before replacing it, make sure the new O-rings are coated with heat-proof, non-toxic plumber’s grease. 

If the entire cartridge needs to be replaced, make sure the old and the new cartridge are the same lengths. Also, the stem end should match the handle attachment. 

How to Fix a Ceramic Disk Faucet

To access the set screw, push the faucet handle back, then remove the screw. Take off the handle, then the escutcheon cap as well. Unscrew the disk cylinder and remove it as well. 

Remove the cylinder neoprene seals using a blunt screwdriver. Check them out and look for any damage. If they are broken, replace them. Clean the cylinder openings with distilled vinegar and a soft brush, then rinse them. Reassemble the faucet using the new seals.

Be careful when turning the water on. The ceramic disk is fragile and can be damaged if the first water pressure is too high. 

On rare occasions, you should replace the entire cylinder. When you’ve done that, make sure you have the new mounting screws to secure it with.

How to Fix a Ball Type Faucet

This faucet may the most complicated one to fix, as it contains many different parts, and each of them may be broken. 

First, pry off the index cover using a pocketknife or some similar, small knife. This will expose the hex-head screw, which you can loosen using a hex-key wrench. Now you can remove the faucet handle. Remove the collar and the cap with adjustable pliers. 

You have most likely received the faucet-repair kit with your ball type faucet. If you did, use the special tool from the kit to loosen the cam and remove it, as well as the rotating ball and the cam washer. You can do this with pliers as well, but it may be hard. Using needle-nose pliers, remove the rubber seats, together with springs. Replace the rubber seat and spring and lower it inside the faucet using a tip of a pencil or a toothpick. Repeat the process until you’ve replaced all seats. 

Next, reinstall the ball. Make sure it’s aligned with the corresponding tab, or the faucet won’t work correctly. Install a rubber gasket on top of it, and then install the cam cap. Once again, everything has to be aligned. Tighten the top cap back on the faucet with your hands, as pliers may damage it. Tighten the nut with a spanner wrench, and your faucet will most likely work correctly. 

If this process is too much for you, you can always buy a replacement kit and reassemble it completely using the new parts.

Bottom Line

Knowing how to fix the leaking faucet can save you a lot on repair costs. As you’ve seen, even though the process has many steps, it isn’t complicated overall. We hope this article helped you increase your handiness skills. Make that annoying drip sound a thing from the past!

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